The Nutrition Nook ~ Why Green Smoothies? Health Trend or Hippie Fad?

Header - Post - Healthy EatingThe Nutrition Nook is a monthly column featuring nutrition information for healthy eating from Renee M. Simpson, RDNRenee is a registered dietitian who loves good food herself AND she has had her share of battling the bulge.  Soul Food TherapyRenee’s corner of the web is located at the Soul Food Therapy blog, which “provides recipes, articles, and encouragement for anyone who has a love affair with food, and desires to live a healthy lifestyle.”  I pray that you are encouraged by what Renee has to share.  * Remember to consult your primary care physician or dietitian before beginning a new nutrition regimen.*

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 Have you or have you not noticed the hype about green smoothies?  When I Googled “green smoothies” I got 12 million results.  So, what’s the big deal?  Well, here are just a few of the wonderful benefits of drinking green smoothies.

  1.  Quick and healthy – We all want to be healthy, right?  But who has time for that?  Well, a green smoothie is one of the quickest ways to do something good for your body.  In just 5 minutes you have a meal that provides you with more health benefits than many other so called well balanced meals. 

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  2. Enzymes to the rescue – As we get closer to and past the age of 40, we produce less of the enzymes needed to digest our food.  We then require a diet high in foods that have their own enzymes.  Leafy greens are perfect for that, and the real reason the whole green smoothie thing even makes sense.  Without those enzymes, we have heartburn, indigestion, bloating, gas, and a whole myriad of problems that we may be taking Tums and Alka Seltzer for, when we could just reach for the blender instead.  Blender - 224 x 289
  3. Raw is a good thing – Even if you do eat lots of vegetables, heating them beyond 118 degrees kills those wonderful enzymes that we need.  So, always use raw leafy greens in the blender, and save the steamed or sautéed veggies for your plate.
  4. Hold the acid – The typical American diet, one rich in dairy, meats and sweets, causes our internal environment to be more acidic.  Green smoothies are full of alkaline foods, fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, in our typical diet we don’t get half the fruit and veggies we need on a plate.  But, if we can drink them, that’s just fine.
  5. Nine a day – The recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies has gone way up from the previous 5 a day.  And most of us weren’t even reaching that goal.  With a green smoothie, you can get as much as 4 servings in one drink.  That’s progress.
  6. Fiber is your friend – We all know that we should get fiber in our diet, but are we getting enough?  A green smoothie will move you in a way that you know you’re getting your fair share of fiber.
  7. Blending vs. chewing – The first step to good digestion is thorough chewing.  But, who has time to do all that chewing?  All food particles that are not broken down to a size that is tiny enough for absorption by the body are wreaking havoc.  Indigestion, constipation, excess mucus, eczema, and allergic reactions are only a few of the troubles that can come about as a result of not chewing our food thoroughly enough.  Let the blender do the work. 

I could go on but I’m sure you get the gist.  So have you tried green smoothies?  If so, what are some of your favorites?  My little one created one of my favorites, the pb&j.  You can find the recipe at http://www.soulfoodtherapy.com/932/pbj-green-smoothie-recipe-peanut-butter-jelly-time/

 If you, or someone you know, are in the East Bay Area of California, I will be teaching green smoothie classes starting this month.  Visit www.reneemsimpson.com/events for class info. 

 Now go get that blender and drink some greens!

Renee M. Simpson, RDN

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